elgin_jones_web_13.jpgEJones@SFLTimes.com

POLI-TRICKS
Candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for president are on center stage after completing in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be headed for the nomination and it’s a shame. The party has deteriorated to the point where it will nominate yet another pathetic mannequin as its standard bearer. Romney has trouble recalling which side of any position he is on from day-to-day and he is out of touch. I won’t say he lies about his record but I will say he is not telling the truth.  The Republican Party has been taken over by a bunch of crackpots who will rally behind anyone who polls show has a chance of defeating President Barack Obama. This, along with their hatred of the president, has led them to set aside their principles in favor of a chance at winning office.

Palm Beach County

PROSTITUTION
Miguel Gomez Miranda, 51, and Sandra Peralta, 35, of Lake Worth have been arrested on charges of operating a prostitution business from a home in the 100 block of South F Street. There had been complaints about men frequenting the home throughout the night and neighbors suspected something was going on. An undercover Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy visited the home and was told it would cost $25 to have sex with a woman who was “working” there at the time, according to police.

SUSPECT CHARGED
Corey Graham Jr., 19, has been arrested and charged in the murder of professional bass fisherman Jimmy McMillan. McMillan, 49, was killed on Jan. 2 during a robbery at his family-owned grocery store in Belle Glade. Surveillance video captured the incident and shows a distinctive tattoo on the gunman’s hand. Tips led police to Graham, who agreed to speak with police and later confessed to the robbery and killing, police said. He is charged with murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

FORBIDDEN ENCOUTERS

Diane Prater, 38, of Greenacres, is facing criminal charges after allegedly admitting she carried on a sexual affair with her friend's 15-year-old son. When the friend learned of the affair, she took her son to police, where he reported having sex with Parter on 19
occasions. During an investigation, Prater confessed, police said, and she was arrested on 19 counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor.  Book’em, Danno!

Broward County

THE BOOK
Famed attorney W. George Allen has written a book which will be published soon. In it, he highlights his experiences and accomplishments over the years, including landmark lawsuits and his activities during the Civil Rights era. Prepare to be surprised, entertained and shocked.

MISTREATMENT?

A lawsuit filed by former Broward Sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Chandra Jefferson is scheduled to start within the next week or so. Jefferson suffers from lupus and other ailments. Her lawsuit alleges she was not allowed to use sick leave and other benefits like other employees after she filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

GO WEST
During his successful run for Congress in 2010, the slogan of U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Florida, was “Go West!” Now he may have to do exactly that. West’s district is mainly along the coastline in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Democrats and Republicans are evenly divided in number and there is a large number of Independents. Districts are being re-drawn in the Legislature and it looks like West’s district will be reshaped to include more of southwestern Broward County. It would include more Democratic voters, which would, for all practical purposes end the conservative Republican’s hope for being re-elected.

POLICE CHASE

Jerrad Noel Wilcox, 22, led police on a chase before crashing his car into a light pole next to a cemetery in the 2700 block of Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Wilcox was wanted on several charges, including armed robbery and attempted murder. He was being held on $174,000 bond.

BIG CHANGES
There are big changes in store for the Broward Sheriff’s Office as Sheriff Al Lamberti shuffles the decks of the Titanic-sized bureaucracy. There will be many positions to fill, including that of Undersheriff Tom Wheeler.  For more than a year rumors have said he is leaving the agency but it seems his departure may come before month’s end. He entered the state’s deferred retirement option program last February. Col. Wiley Thompson, who was recently promoted to director of administration, is the leading candidate to succeed Wheeler. A formal ceremony is tentatively scheduled for the second week of February but we’ve heard that before, so we’ll see.

Miami-Dade County

WANTED
Carrie Smith, 51, allegedly was shot and killed while standing in front of Jeffery Leon Perpall, 45, in Florida City.  Police believe Perpall was the gunman and are looking for him. No other details about the killing have been released.  Authorities are asking anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.

MURDER/SUICIDE
Miami-Dade police say 69-year-old Jorge Astacio shot and killed his wife, Sonia, 59, and then shot himself in their Kendall home. The two were pronounced dead after paramedics arrived. Several family members were home at the time. Police have not released details of what may have led to the tragedy.

SHORT HONEYMOON?
Homestead City Manager George Gretsas began his career with the semi-rural town on a high note. He was hired at a time when the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office was conducting several criminal investigations of City Hall. There were other scandals and lawsuits­ as well. Gretsas was seen as a unifying force but that may now be over. He is being criticized for hiring top aides who worked with him in Fort Lauderdale, where he previously served as city manager. Some business leaders and residents wanted him to fill key positions with people from the area who have a working knowledge of the city. Several council members may have soured on Gretsas and he is increasingly being scrutinized.

CORRECTION

In the Dec. 1, 2011 edition of this column, attorney Alan Becker was mentioned as being the new president of the Beacon Council, replacing Frank Nero. In fact, Becker is the new chairman of the board. He took over from outgoing chairman Jack Lowell, whose term ended. Nero remains president/CEO.

Photo Elgin Jones